Sunday, April 26, 2015

Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock & Roll

Marie told me there was a documentary playing at the DFT that covered Cambodian rock'n'roll. Nuff said. I was there.

We hadn't been to the DFT in far too long. Sucks. Just "been busy" with other shit. And Netflix definitely has something to do with it. We ate some good vegan nosh at Seva in Detroit, hit up the Crystal Gallery in the DIA then checked out the flick.

It was really well done. Good production value. Well edited and paced. It covered the key players in the birth of Cambodian rock'n'roll and tracked them up until the Khmer Rouge took power in the early 70's. Shit hit the fan and Dead Kennedy's wrote a song about said shit hitting said fan.

Not surprisingly, the doc' gets pretty emotional. The good times are obliterated by the Khmer Rouge and the bloodshed that followed. It's a bummer. But if you take anything positive away from it, I think it's the resilience of the people.

This is a good flick and definitely worth viewing.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

Shep Gordon was the greatest Hollywood manager to ever live. I don't think that's really disputable. This is a documentary about his life. And it's fucking funny as hell.

It pretty much starts out with Shep, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and a whole bunch of weed. Alice Cooper enters the scene. He manages Cooper and his life takes on a whole new, crazy trajectory. The movie focuses on Cooper the most since they have the longest and tightest relationship. Their relationship is the thread that weaves the whole story together. And quite a lot of the anecdotes and whatnot have been covered a million times before, most recently in the Cooper documentary by Sam Dunn; Super Duper Alice Cooper. But that's okay cuz you can never get enough Coop'.

Outside of Alice and music management you see Shep dabble in film production and even create a whole freakin genre of celebrities; the celebrity chef. That was this man's invention for god's sake. It's pretty remarkable unto itself.

Anyway, Shep is widely regarded as the nicest guy ever, he's rich beyond anyone's wildest dreams, and his life has been pretty god damn amazing. This documentary is very entertaining and definitely a must-see.

even cooler.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter

The original On Any Sunday is a motorcycle classic. It has Steve McQueen in it. It brought motorcycling to the public's eye and really tried to show it as a clean hobby / sport, and not something to be identified with outlaw M/C/s. It rules.

Well, a zillion years later the Director's son films a second chapter. It's the same formula as the first, but just with Mickey Rourke and Valentino Rossi instead of Steve McQueen. It's got super slo-mo and it was shot in 4k. All that jazz. Very slick and pro looking.

It's a good watch and covers many aspects of the 'sport' of motorcycling but rarely touches on motorcycling culture...the way the vast majority of bikers experience bikes...i.e. on the street.

Anyway, if you ride a bike this movie is for you. It's got dare-devil shit to MotoGP shit covered. Jumping football fields with your bike or high-siding at 200 mph and walking away from both unscathed. It's all there.

Dig it.

It's So Easy + and other lies +

Got this for x-mas. I'm obviously big on musician bios and so I was stoked to dive into Duff's take on GNFNR and beyond. I felt like the book was off to a rocky start but very quickly righted itself and became an engrossing read. Immediate comparisons will be drawn to Slash's bio and to be honest, Slash's is definitely better. I found it richer. But Duff's is Duff's and it's still a damn fine read. Not everything can be "the best."

Duff gave a lot of insight into the other band members, especially Izzy. And so it was an educational dive into some of the inner workings of Guns n Roses. You felt like you understood their respective personalities that little bit more after getting through the book. The walls are broken down and the characters are humanized. Although most of their antics and choices seem to defy what one would consider "human." Regularly drinking TEN BOTTLES OF WINE A DAY? Fuckin a'.

Duff's story is typically filled with ups, downs, lots of tragedies, epiphanies, success, failure, rebirth, and resilience. It's cool to see what he went through, how he learned from it, and how that took him down some unusual paths post-GnR.

If you like music you must like GnR. If you like GnR then you should read this book. That's my logic. Do yourself a favor and pick this up. You'll fly through it in no time. I think Pickle was telling me he was a born-again Christian but there's zero mention of religion in this book (and it's very recent). So if he is, he certainly doesn't mention it even once.

It's a wild ride.


with his wife.

looking cool as fuck.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dead Wake

Erik Larson is probably my favorite living author. He writes non-fiction novels. To use a hackneyed phrase, he really brings the past to life. The dude goes bananas traveling the world and researching a specific topic for any given book. Marie just bought me his latest book and I devoured it in about 4 sittings in 3 days. This one is about the final voyage of the Lusitania.

I'm sure the story of the Lusitania is more familiar to yanks cuz it was pretty much the root cause for engaging the US in the First World War. But I didn't really know anything about it. It didn't take me 2 seconds to figure it out once I realized the protagonist was a captain of a cruise liner and the antagonist was the captain of a U-boat.

Dead Wake seemed to be one of his most thoroughly detailed historical accounts. But even given the minutia, it just flowed so well. You look at things on a microscopic level the way Erik does and it's just awesome. The book builds and builds until an unholy crescendo of horror, pain, death and loss.

Everyone should read this book so I don't want to give anything away regarding the other parts of the story you might not know about. But it's not the sinking of the Lusitania that's the most troubling aspect of this whole story: It's the government.

This book was fascinating. Read it.

44,000 tons, 9 passenger decks, 787 ft long, almost 3000 people capacity inc crew.

Young Cycle Girls

This was a good flick to end this season of Motorcycle Movie Night. It was from 77 and therefore we got a little bit more than we typically got with a late 60's flick. The girls actually got naked in this one (very briefly) and they threw around obscenities that wouldn't have passed in the 60's. Society was loosening up, and so were the Young Cycle Girls...

The flick was about three girls from Colorado who get on their Honda 350's and spend Easter break heading for the west coast. They want to see the ocean in LA. Sounds fun. What could go wrong? Except for they make some dumb decisions along the way, get mistaken for Hell's Angels, get molested by the fuzz, raped by a drug dealer, have their bike stolen, and practically rape a virginal pinball wizard. It ends up being a less than ideal trip. But they make it. And all the while they have the theme song for the movie playing in their heads. It's cornball. But it was a really entertaining 80 minutes.

So here's the thing; the DVD case (yeah, I own this) says this movie has the most shocking ending since Easy Rider. That's quite a statement. But I tell ya what, none of us were expecting the film to end how it did. Holy shit, it was shocking alright. Right up there with the end of the Pink Angels.

I didn't have high expectations for Young Cycle Girls but it was a sleeper. PJ thought it was the best motorcycle flick we'd ever seen.

Dig it.